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Archive for April, 2012

Remembering who we are, and where we are going, is a function of the soul. We can even say that there is a process guiding the soul. This process can be thought of as soul-making, or what our life here on Earth is really for. It is how we develop and draw out the potential we are innately endowed with. Soul-making is the lifelong process of acquiring the attributes, qualities, and character needed for our eternal journey. It helps us in both this world and the next.

As Marion Woodman puts it, “soul-making is allowing the eternal essence to live and experience the outer world through all the senses – seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, touching – so that the soul grows during its time on Earth. Soul-making is constantly confronting the paradox that an eternal being is dwelling in a temporal body. That’s why it suffers, and learns by heart. Soul hears with eternal ears, sees with eternal eyes, smells with eternal nose.”

Soul-making is not a solitary quest; it is for the benefit of everyone. It is a process of taking on a transcendent identity that results in nothing less than personal transformation which contributes also to our collective transformation. This is what the world needs most at this auspicious time.

A 50th way to explore your soul’s story – This is important stuff, be sure to give yourself enough time and find a quiet space to reflect on what you feel it is that really guides your life and where you think this is directing you. Think of times in your life when you became aware that you were drawing out a new virtue, quality, or potential that was already within you. What did this feel like? What was it like for you to discover for the first time that there was an eternal part of you along with the temporal part? Finally, after you’ve had enough time to reflect on these questions, write down the story of how your soul-making has expressed your own personal truth, as well as some part of the collective truth of us all.

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C.G. Jung wrote: “My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious… I can understand myself only in the light of inner happenings. It is these that make up the singularity of my life.” He seems to be implying that at our essence, we are like all other human beings. The soul is what links us to the archetypal world. Soul-making is communicating deeply with the inner realm, being fully awake and aware as the numinous bursts forth from the unconscious, flooding our consciousness with eternal images.

James Hillman sees soul-making as what happens when we evoke the emotions and experiences—of crisis and opportunity, of love and dying—that give life a deeper meaning. This occurs as the unique turns into the universal, and the temporal into the eternal. Only this world, with all of its opposites and dualities, as Keats said, provides the necessary stuff of soul-making. And, as many spiritual traditions say, we are formed in the image of God and we have the innate capacity to reflect that image in the life we live. This inborn image serves as a spark of consciousness that benefits our growth and has our best interests as its purpose. We can also think of this mysterious force overseeing our lives as “grace,” “providence,” or being invisibly watched over.

A 49th way to explore your soul’s story – Whether we remember it or not, we are always connected to our Infinite self. We are always living in the archetypal realm. We just have to be a bit more conscious of where we are each moment. Take some special time right now to communicate deeply with your eternal self. Listen carefully to what your soul has to tell you. Be open to all moments, to all dualities that have come your way. Knowing these polarities as well as you can will greatly assist your process of soul-making. As we become more familiar with this deeper, lasting sense of who we really are, we recognize more clearly that all that does come to us is purposeful. Take in deeply all of these moments of grace, reflect further upon their meaning for you, and, when you have reached some new or deeper clarity, write down your insights from this reflection in the form of a flowing narrative.

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John Keats asked the question, “How then are souls to be made?” He wasn’t referring to how our soul is originally created, but how it is brought into its fullness of being. He knew that the soul is a “spark” of Divine creation. The question was, “How then are these sparks which are God to have identity given them—so as ever to possess a bliss peculiar to each one’s individual existence?” Our soul is a work in progress, and this life is designed to assist it in reaching its fruition. We are placed in this physical setting, with all its contradictions and oppositions, so our soul doesn’t have all green lights on its eternal journey. There are some yellow lights and some red lights along the way; then the green lights follow. Developing an identity can become a very confusing matter. Knowing who we are is not meant to come easy.

Soul-making is what happens when we live life deeply, and learn by heart the lessons intended from all the conflicts and struggles encountered here. As Keats says, “How [are souls to be made], but by the medium of a world like this?… Do you not see how necessary a World of Pains and troubles is to school an Intelligence and make it a soul?  A Place where the heart must feel and suffer in a thousand diverse ways!” Or, as Thomas Moore puts it, “The whole world and all of life are nothing but the raw materials for soul-making.” There you have it. We’re here to learn from everything we encounter.

A 48th way to explore your soul’s story – Could it be that who we really are is linked directly to where we came from? Beyond all the here-and-now stuff of our lives, we all come from a common origin, someplace deeper and longer-lasting than this surface level existence. Beyond the daily, mundane events of our lives, we all also have an eternal soul. How has your soul’s journey through this physical quagmire given you your lasting identity? How has living deeply, learning from life’s intended lessons “by heart,” given you a sense of certitude in who you are and what your purpose is? How has your heart’s sufferings contributed to your changeless identity? Think about all the pains and troubles of your life, as well as the joys and successes, and tell the story of how the raw materials of the world have been a leaven for soul-making for you.

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